Flamboyant cricketer Kumara Sangakkara says his country and India have a lot in common including a passion for the game

He has been a prolific batsman, hitting centuries across the world and an aggressive wicketkeeper. He also led Sri Lanka to a World Cup final in 2011.

“Losing that game was extremely tragic. It was one of the worst moments of my life,” says Kumara Sangakkara.

He was in the city as part of an initiative to promote tourism in Sri Lanka. Commenting that he enjoyed being in India, he said: “Both countries have a common passion for cricket and also have many common cultural and traditional ties. I feel at home in India.”

Moving on to cricket, Kumara is following the current test series between Pakistan and South Africa and the India-Australia series closer home. “I think South Africa is the best test team at the moment. The manner in which they are demolishing any opposition has been proof of their power.”

He adds, “As far as the India-Australia series is concerned, the manner in which Australia tackles spin will be important for the outcome of the series. Both teams have faced some setbacks and have seen a generation take a curtain call recently. It would be very interesting to see how the younger generation copes up with the challenge.”

Cricket, especially the one-day format is seeing many changes these days. Kumara does not think that tweaking the game is a bad idea.

“If new rules help bring more interest in the game, make it fair and creates an even contest between bat and ball, it is a positive development. The same goes for the decision referral system. I personally think that it is a good system, though some changes could be introduced to cut back any errors.”

Though Sri Lanka, much like its fellow finalist in the 2011 World Cup has been mired in controversies and bad form, both off and on the field, Kumara is confident of better times ahead for the team.

“Things are improving, both on and off the field. We are a fairly good one-day and T20 team. Our test form has slumped a bit in the past few years, but we are making efforts to correct that situation.”